C.B.H. Reviews: “Spelled” By Betsy Schow

C.B.H. Reviews: “Spelled” By Betsy Schow

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Title: Spelled (Spelled #1)
Author: Betsy Schow
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date:June 2, 2015
Originally Received by Netgalley
Re-read: May 2017

Goodreads Description

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.”

My Review

I originally read this novel back in 2015 before I had this lovely blog and added my reviews outside of Amazon and Goodreads. Back then, re-told fairy tale stories were not as big as they currently are today. Now, we are beginning to see a higher increase in the re-told fairy tale/fantasy category with the Court of Thorns and Roses series, Lunar Chronicles seriesTwists Tale series, Huntedand many more now that we want to see more takes of our beloved fairy tale characters.

Spelled by Betsy Schow, though, is not your average fairy tale re-telling. It’s more like a parody cluster of fairy tale characters overlaying cliches, overlaid by over the top action in this book. Our main character is Dorothy who is a spoiled brat princess who is restricted to her castle because the females of her family are cursed and foretold to destroy the world with fire. Call back to Sleeping Beauty, the kingdom is rid of devices that can create fire and the only way the curse be prevented is the cursed princess be rescued by a prince.

Going back to Dorothy, she despises any of the princes her parents attempt to being to her attention. Dorothy would rather spend money acquiring the latest Glenda fashions and Hans Christian heel collections. Her parents decide enough is enough and set up an arranged marriage between her and prince Kato. You want to see a spoiled little princess have a temper tantrum and basically destroying her kingdom over a wish? It’s not pretty. To be honest, I almost stopped reading because of Dorothy’s immaturity. I get you are trying to change the average fairy tale princess, but if it causes pain for your readers to read about her then you need to tone it down.

The story is filled with hilarious comebacks, changes, and gives a better appreciation for the original material. It contains easter eggs you have to pay extra close attention to unless you’d miss them. Do I recommend this? Yes, but I do not suggest you place it next to your other fairy tale retellings. I believe books like this deserve a category all of their own.

 

Rating 6

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews: Sweet Evil; Sweet Peril (The Sweet Series #1 and #2) By Wendy Higgins

C.H.B. Reviews: Sweet Evil; Sweet Peril (The Sweet Series #1 and #2) By Wendy Higgins

October 24th

Angels and Demons

Moving, is a pain, especially when it consumes you, especially cutting into your reading time. Extra time is currently a luxury but somehow there have been books sneaking their way into my ears through the airwaves. I miss having an actual book in my hands right now but it’ll have to do. Today’s “spooky”-ish theme surrounds the mysteries between angels and demons.

I finished this book earlier last week and it’s sequel a few days later and now I’m on the third book. The narrator in the audio book series is kind of boring and can get annoying at times, but the story itself balances it out nicely.

Available: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

Goodreads Description

“What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.


Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?”

As the daughter of an angel and demon, she struggles between both of her nature. Only, you see her lean towards the angel side more than the demon side. Very rarely do you see her slip up in her nature. Although when she does, it’s either to save someone’s feelings or someone forced her into the compromising situation.

She wonders around the beginning of the novel, knowing she’s different from being able to see people’s auras (strangely just like Alyssa Noel’s character Ever from Evermore) and her memory stretches all the way back to in vitro. She remembers her father, a demon “Duke of Addiction”, who is in prison on drug charges, while her former guardian angel mother passed away after Anna’s birth. Despite the weird circumstances, she does not discover her true heritage until she meets the UBER hot Kaidan Rowe at one of his concerts.

Kaidan, oh Kaidan, how I wish he were real. And the accent? I was absolutely, positively done for! He’s perfect and despite being the son of the Duke of Lust, he tries to be a gentleman toward Anna. Even I wanted to push her over to try to talk to him! He’s too perfect for words.

I have a love-hate relationship with Anna. There are moments where she’ll act like a teenager her age then around her adoptive mother, Patty, it’s like she transforms into this child. And after she meets Kaidan, she all of a sudden learns her origins and she’s a nephilim. Oh and Patty has known about Anna’s powers and helped her cope with them and STILL did not tell her about her parents till Anna met Kaidan. She keeps Anna sheltered in this little box in order to “protect” her but it seems like it’s done more harm than good.

Anna is now thrown into this world of demons, Demon Dukes, and learns that they have to “work” in order to sooth the hunger of these freaky demon ghost phantoms or else she is put to death. Yeah, dead. How do they work? By making people sin, of course. Depending on who the nephilum’s father is, that is how they need to make people sin. But we don’t see Anna forced to work till close to the end of the novel. As soon as you think the novel is really getting good, it’s over.

After the first two books, they seemed like they should both be mashed into one book. In the first book, we only hear about her getting a hilt of a sword from a nun who knew her mother and witnessed her birth. The second book, we discover Anna is the “chosen one” for an ancient prophecy which deals with ridding the demons off of Earth forever.

It’s a good series to try out and I’ll keep you updated on books #3 and #4!

 

My Rating:

Book #1: 6 out of 10 Book Charms

Book #2: 7 out of 10 Book Charms

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Breaking Down The Charms: “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill Review

Breaking Down The Charms: “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill Review

310n9QSgyTL._UY200_.jpgDifferent generation = Different writing styles. This is how I look at Joe Hill’s writing in Heart-Shaped Box. I did a mini-rant in my last review about Stephen King fans getting down on his son’s debut novel from 2007. Author’s children who become authors shouldn’t be compared to their parents.

Heart-Shaped Box is no ordinary ghost story. It plays upon the torture of mental manipulation and abuse. Arguably, readers who never have experienced this trauma or have seen it used in different books can misinterpret it in the novel as the ghost not taking full advantage and killing our former rocker main character, Judas Coyne. On the contrary, the ghost, Craddock, is teasing and torturing Judas with his power. Throughout the beginning of the novel, Craddock even told Judas he was going to make his revenge worthwhile.

Now, it’s time to break down the charms to this chilling novel!

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Breaking Down The Charms

**First, Read the info on my Book Charms Here

1. Charm of Intelligence

“Should This Book Have Been Published?”

YES! This book was rightfully published. It’s not your run of the mill type of ghost stories. This one makes you care about the characters in play. Each time I put the book down, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to pick it up again.

2. Charm of Learning

“Did I learn anything new or interesting?”

If you are not familiar with hypnotism, it can be either innocent or downright sickening. The way Hill describes Craddock’s past is riddled with the ways he used his talent. Remember Vietnam? Now there is a freaky scene Craddock is involved in that will leave your skin crawling. So did I learn anything new or interesting? Pretty much, yes. Hypnotism grants the ability to do more than give people the ability to dance around. No, Vampire’s mesmerizing skill does not count.

3. Charm of Character

“Do I enjoy reading about these characters? Do they speak to me or leave me wanting to ditch them on the side of a long, begotten road?”

Jude is a cold, collected former rock and roller who has seen many things in his life. He grew up with his abusive father and negligent mother on their family farm in Louisiana. For years, he longed for an escape to which he found it in his music. He managed to escape through fame and becoming well-known through his band. After the death of two of his band members, the band broke up, leaving Judas to his collection of strange objects and slew of women. I guess you can say, he built up a reputation with his collection and not staying in relationships very long. The only exception was Craddock’s stepdaughter. Sadly after her and Jude broke up, he moved on with Marybeth and she committed suicide. Craddock blamed her suicide on Jude, causing future events to come to pass after Jude unknowingly purchases Craddock’s haunted suit.

Marybeth, goth and former erotic dancer, is one of those characters who makes you wonder if you’ll truly like them. I actually grew to like her very much! The more her character opened up, she proved to be an extremely caring, selfless character.

Craddock? No comment on him. My views on him would involve me wanting to hire Sam and Dean (Supernatural fans ftw). I will mention, though, that Craddock cannot be destroyed by the regular Supernatural rules means.

4. Charm of Agility

It’s the perfect pace! Not to fast, not to slow, it’s all just right for me.

5. Charm of Romance

“Does this element make me long for it in my life, cringe, or ship the couple in question?”

Marybeth and Jude’s relationship is pretty complicated. Since Jude doesn’t like to discuss his feelings, him and Marybeth’s relationship at the beginning of the novel is pretty distant. Throughout the story, it progresses to turn out to be more than it originally seemed. It’s one of those relationships that takes a disaster to make the couple realize how they truly feel about one another.

6. Charm of Worth

100% Worthy to be set alongside other memorable Horror/Ghost Story novels!

7. Charm of Length

The ending felt a little rushed, not going to lie. Wanted it to be drawn out a little more.

8. Charm of Imagery 

Holy crap! I could see the whole story unfold before my eyes! No, it didn’t keep me up at night but it followed me into my dreams for sure.

9. Charm of Belief

The ideas are not ridiculous but I don’t believe this could completely happen in real life.

10. Charm of Everlasting

It’s almost been 10 years since the first release of this book. People are still reading it today and I think it’s stood against time so far. Do I see people continuing to read it in the future? I think so!

~

Wracking up the breakdown, I give this book a rating:

out of 10 Book Charms!

Do you think you may read this book during October? Have you read any of Joe Hill’s novels? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews: “The Dark Half” By Stephen King

C.H.B. Reviews: “The Dark Half” By Stephen King

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Alter Egos Can Be Killer To Their Masters….

This is a chilling take of a writer’s alter ego/pen name’s character comes to life to kill it’s creator and live an entire life of it’s own. But the creepiness of the tale does not stop there! The author’s imaginary alter ego is more of an extension of a deeper connection. As a young boy, Thad Beaumont went through a drastic brain tumor remover surgery in order to cure his headaches and strange noises. But there may be a deeper, more darker twist behind the headaches. Now, he’s hearing the noises again and his alter ego is trying to destroy his life by killing the important people in his life….can he escape his darker half?

~

This Stephen King novel is better if you physically read it instead of listening to the audiobook, in my opinion. The audiobook made it seem dull when it is an intense read! The reader even made the sinister alter ego, George Stark, and Thad’s wife more annoying than bringing them to life. I stopped listening and picked up the book for the rest of the story.

Stephen King proves why he’s the king of horror writing through the deeper symbolism of the reason behind George Stark’s appearance. Thad Beaumont’s growth is phenomenal as well. To be honest, he came off as pretty wimpy in the beginning of the story. By the end, he proved that as a writer, you are a master of your own universe not a victimized bystander.

On a side note, if you’re one of those people who enjoy Stephen King’s novels and always look for connections between them all, you’ll find one through here by the mention the past events from his work in Cujo. I love the fact he does this in all of his novels. All of these novels may not a full on, connected series, but it’s adds to the suspense of each novel. *Connection Spoiler* They are all connected to the Dark Tower series!

Completely recommend this for horror lovers. Writers, beware!
Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

C.H.B. Reviews: “Stargazer” By: Claudia Gray

C.H.B. Reviews: “Stargazer” By: Claudia Gray

I began the Evernight series earlier this year. The first book, heavily disappointed. I started this book back in June, but stopped to read other books on my list which called my attention. I finally picked it up again last week and finished it last weekend.

While there may have been new twists added to the story, unfortunately, I still rolled my eyes more times than I can count. We go back to complicated dramatic love story of Bianca and Lucas. Sum up: Bianca, (born vampire) and Lucas (vampire hunter) = “Star-Crossed Lovers”.

What I find terribly depressing about this story is the fact that the author presents this possibly fantastic new element to the story involving wraiths and Balthazar’s sister only to shove it to the back burner the majority of the time. When Balthazar’s sister came into play, it felt like it was a waste of time considering his sister has become “evil” by getting involved with the wrong crowd, alerting Lucas’s vampire hunter squad. With the wraiths, I’m inwardly groaning right now, it starts as an interesting turn of events but then falls into only causing more drama and Bianca whining over ridiculous things.

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Much like Twilight’s New Moon, we are reminded of the whole Romeo and Juliet element to the current story. Bianca even begins to compare her own relationship to the story. I’m currently trying not to throw this book across the room right now, I’m that frustrated with it. Her head is 85% filled with the obsession of Lucas, Lucas, Lucas, and Lucas. Even when her life is in danger, she constantly thinks about him. Maybe it’s because I’m not a teenager anymore that I get frustrated by this and find it repulsive but I find it repulsive.

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Alas, I have the third book in this series and will eventually read and review it. Could be a month….or two….or three….but it’ll get done.

If you haven’t read this series, I advise you not too. Don’t waste your time unless you want a splitting headache and wonder if you should take some anger management classes.

 

My Rating: 3 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “The Scarlet Tanager (The Annika Brisby Series B.3)” By: Emigh Cannaday

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “The Scarlet Tanager (The Annika Brisby Series B.3)” By: Emigh Cannaday

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Available: Amazon

**Disclaimer: I received a free ARC copy of the book from the author in exchange for a 100% honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Oh…my…gosh…

Here I thought the cliffhanger from the previous book left me on edge, begging for more. This one sent me even more into a frenzy. The whole growth of the characters, compared to the first story, is phenominal. My only negative is that I wish I could have seen Talvi’s growth more in this book. I adore Talvi. He’s that bad boy who you wish could transform into that knight in shining armor but his past, both people and actions, prove its next to impossible. However, he tears those pre-desposed notions to shreds and proves he can be that knight.

514X2miSruL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In the last book, The Silver Thread, I watched  him and Annika’s relationship catch fire and burn then rise up from the ashes like a Phoenix. In this one, however, the book mainly focuses on Finn’s demotion of being the “good” brother to being the “evil” brother. I wished I had the ability to leap into the book just to throttle him! And Yuri? I still believe she manipulated Annika’s thoughts into her turning to Finn. Between Yuri’s deception vs. Finn’s deception, though, I have to say Finn was worse. On the other hand, I’d like to argue it was Yuri’s fault by sticking her spoiled nose where it didn’t belong in the first place.

On a side note, Hilda. I am absolutely thrilled for her current situation! After Finn’s used her after all these years then dropping her, it completely appalled me. He didn’t even think of her at all.

We can compare Hilda and Finn reactions to the people they loved being taken away or leaving side-by-side, and clearly Hilda has surpassed Finn. She picked up the pieces and I applaud how her storyline is continuing along with her decisions!

This book was completely worth the wait! I want more details on Talvi’s growth in the next book, for sure. For the ending, I sincerely hope it is not true. I could not bear it to be! I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

If you’d like to join me on Twitter or my Facebook page in discussing this series, you can obtain the copy of the first book here.

Don’t forget to “Like” the Facebook page or Follow me on Twitter!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Support Independent Authors!

Support Independent Authors!

As I’m catching up on my reviews, I can’t help but see that the majority of books I’ve dove into lately were written by independent authors. These authors are not widely known due to them going through small, independent book publishers or even through sites like Wattpad.

Those who write through Wattpad, gain the ability to cultivate a following of their own without the use of a publishing company. Some then proceed to go through Amazon publishing, to release their completed novel for their readers to purchase for their shelves, both digital and physical.

The independent publisher authors are brilliant. I’m not saying the writers using Wattpad are not. What I am saying is they are trying to grow their following from bare bones. Many do not even know where to begin. Most often than not, their books are not accessed. Whether it’s through poor marketing, few resources, etc.. 

Whatever the case may be, I honestly fully support the Independent Authors who work hard to continue writing. Yes, they may not be signed to Penguin Books or any of the other huge book publishers. But they are creators, writers, parents to their own stories.

For over a year, I’ve been reading more independent author books than ones from big companies. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve come to respect them as much as my favorite big publishing houses, authors. I commend these authors by their tenacity, drive, and patience through all they do.

Where am I going with all this? As a writer and a reviewer, I recommend you all to check out more Independent Author’s books. No, I’m not saying “Down with regularly published authors!” Never will I say that! But as a perspective reader who has seen certain writing trends repeated over and over again, some independent author’s stories have proven to be a breath of fresh air to my imagination. 

Support Your Independent Authors/Writers! Make their beloved work be heard! Who knows, they may be the next Bestselling author on the national circuit. 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.